Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Guest Post: Aggie Villanueva

Today, we have a special treat! A guest post from Aggie Villanueva, a long-time published author, book promotor, and expert on writing and writing for the web. She graciously agreed to share some of her expertise with us. This is part two of a three-part white paper called "Writing for the Web". You can purchase the rest of this paper, or any of her other papers on writing, at http://promotionalacarte.com/white-paper-reports/. I will be interviewing her and reviewing her book, The Rewritten Word: How to Sculpt Literary Art, No Matter the Genre, later this week, so come on back!

Writing for the Web:

Nobody Reads Anymore; They Scan.

Make it Easy for Them

Nobody reads anymore; at least at first glance. They scan.

Make it easy for them to scan on screen, or a mobile device, and decide in a moment if they want to read your post. They’ll love you for it and most likely come back the next time they need to find your niche information in a hurry.

Make it Easy to Scan

 Try to keep the overall article short and to the point. Mobile devices load slower than computers, but even laptop users get frustrated with long load times.

 Use lots of bulleted/numbered list. This is especially important if your blog post is over 300 words. If you’re covering information intensive topics it is much easier to scan itemized lists.

 Use Subheadings. I’d also add, make the subheading slightly larger than normal to be easily seen at a glance.

 Break it up. Break up long paragraphs into easy-to-read chunks. This goes against everything taught in our English classes of old. But when writing for the Web break up a paragraph, if possible, after only 2-3 sentences, even if your are continuing the same thought.

 Never use long blocks of text on your blog. Keep the mobile reader in mind. Nowadays 50% or so of your visitors are reading it on a mobile device. A long paragraph would run two-three screens on a iPhone.

 Get rid of most white space. This causes added scrolling. I used to do page design and typesetting. Back then, when people read from a virtual page we were taught to use white space as a form of graphics without an image. Not so in a blog post. The only white space I’d recommend is what is freed up by indented and bulleted lists.

 Eliminate the use of symbols such as *, or even smart quotes and accented letters such as รก because many mobile device browsers don’t support them.

Writing a blog for the web is a whole different animal than the writing we were taught in school. But it's not so hard if we just keep our reader in mind, which is, after all, the oldest and wisest of writing instruction.

Thank you for your great advice, Aggie!

1 comment:

  1. Jennifer, I so enjoyed guest posting for you. Thank you for your gracious hosting.